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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Sup Dendroboardees,

I am in the beginning stages of a Madagascar biotope (or almost, maybe a few african species) viv. It is a 20 gallon long black rimmed aquarium, that i am converting into a vert. I already took the top glass out and siliconed a 6" (i think, something close) peice of acrylic (yes i know, silicone + acrylic= not beast hold) into the bottom rim of the tank, and have already water tested it for 6"of water. If this worked, do any glass/acrylic experts think the bond (or not bond) will weaken overtime, or if it will be fine since it held the max amount of water already?

I have metal hinges on the left side of the tank (no im not a lefty, its just a display viv that will be in a corner covering the back and left sides of the tank) but i will soon replace them with acrylic hinges from Joshs Frogs, or Home Depot if i can find them. Attach them using Weld On 40, the one for multiple plastics (acrylic to the black plastic rim) the attach the hinges to the acrylic door with Weld On 16, for acrylic to acrylic.

I know that people say the acrylic will warp, but the door will have hinges all the way down the left side, sits in the little lip of the black rim, and will be secured on the 2 corners with little swivel lock things (dont really know how to describe it haha).

I used a dremel tool to cut away the top part of the black rim so that i could remove the top peice of glass (WWAAYY harder than you think :( ) because i am going to need UVB lighting(more on that later), which cannot pass through glass.

I am finishing up the false bottom today.

Here is the progress so far:



As i said, i am going with a mostly Madagascar biotope, so most of the plants and all of the animals will be from Madagascar.

On the left and back sides of the tank, i am probably going to do a GS background covered in coco fiber, attached with titebond 3, with pieces of cork imbedded into the background.

THere will be 2 or 3 cork tubes across the viv with un noticable holes so that the animals can hide inside of them. The glass will be clear inside the tubes so you can glance into the tubes. The tubes will be covered in some sort of moss.

Any other suggestions for moss and epiphytic plants? Preferrably madagascar and commonly available.

I also wanted to have a vanilla plant the takes over the left wall of the viv. Im planning to trim it a lot, and even so, wrap it a few times so it covers the wall.

Will this be feasable or impossible based on the potential size? If okay, any comments on trimming or care?

Cyperus alternifolius will also be used and is about the right height for the viv, native to madagascar, and my neighbor has some growing right now (obviously i will clean it haah).

Asplenium nidus (birds nest fern) will be used instead of bromeliads, which are not native to Madagascar.

Sansevieria trifasciata (snake plant) may be used, although it is an African plant, not a Madagascar native.

The main reason for the possiblity of the snake plant is because of the inhabitants. I am planning on housing a pair, or possibly one, giant day gecko. These will stay in the upper half of the vivarium and will thrive in the higher temperatures from the lights and also need the UVB rays that will not travel all the way to the bottom.

ALSO (yes, this is a mixed viv) I will have a pair, or also possibly one, Blue Legged Mantella (Mantella Expectata) or Green Mantella (Mantella Viridis). Both of the species will stay on the substrate and will not bother / be bothered by the day geckos. THese species also like to bathe in water becuase they live on streambanks.

For that reason, half of the bottom will be about a 6" deep pool with easy access. I am thinking of populating the water with guppies or neon tetras. I know both are not native to madagascar, but should not mess with the frogs, are relatively small, look beautiful, and are commonly available.

If anyone has any comments, suggestions, or concerns, please feel free to voice them openly and politely.

Thanks in advance,

-Jeremy
 

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i remember pumilo saying that acrylic and silicone will eventually fail. Granted, i don't know about mantellas, but i don't think you should be putting 2 pairs of different species in a 20 gallon vert. other than that, i think this will be awesome!!!! i really like biotopes because they make the viv look more realistic IMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Goof

I have decided to take the acrylic peice off and reattach it with the Weld On I was talking about. It should make a watertight, stronger bond between the two plastics, and I water test it to be sure.

I researched these pairs for a while and dont think they are going to be a problem, other than what Mantis said (yea its a big deal, but not with the smaller day geckos). Ed posted a great mixing thread on here that gave info about mixing different species, not two dart species. THe animals should ignore each other given that they dont go into the other's space (arboreal vs. terrestrial) and that food is not a problem (i will make sure to provide excess food for no competition). The pairs shouldn't be a problem because if they ignore each other, breeding should be fine.

Mantis

Will the giant day geckos really eat the mantellas? After research, most sites did not say they ate any frogs, or any small animals, other than smaller lizards. I assumed that the "bright frog: poisonous" instinct would kick in. Also, the Green Matella are a little bigger than the Blue Legged Mantellas, at about 1 to 1.5 inches. Wouldn't that be a little large for the Giants to prey on?

If that is going to be a problem, then i will definately drop down to a smaller species, probably the Lined Day Geckos.

Thanks for the info,

-Jeremy
 

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Will the giant day geckos really eat the mantellas? After research, most sites did not say they ate any frogs, or any small animals, other than smaller lizards. I assumed that the "bright frog: poisonous" instinct would kick in. Also, the Green Matella are a little bigger than the Blue Legged Mantellas, at about 1 to 1.5 inches. Wouldn't that be a little large for the Giants to prey on?
I would like to start off by saying that I know almost nothing about day geckos.

That being said, I found this bit of info on wikipedia:
These day geckos feed on various insects and other invertebrates, and occasionally have been recorded consuming small vertebrates. They also like to lick soft, sweet fruit, pollen and nectar. Geckos in the wild and in captivity have been observed consuming their own young.
Phelsuma madagascariensis grandis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here is another source, citing specifically the species you are interested in:
Owing to largely shared habitat requirements, Phelsuma are often mixed with other animals, such as tree frogs and dart frogs. Caution is the watchword here – large day geckos (P.m.grandis, standingi) will eat smaller frogs and lizards (dart frogs, red-eyes or anolis), whereas large frogs (White’s tree frogs) can and will eat small Phelsuma (laticauda, klemmeri).
http://daygeckos.co.uk/phelsuma_general_care

And in case you haven't read through it thoroughly (you really should) here is a thread on multispecies exhibits:
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/beginner-discussion/3449-mixing-multispecies-exhibits.html
The article applies to both the mixing of different dart frog species, AND unrelated species such as geckos and frogs (I think at one point Ed even mentions a successful eyelash viper and frog exhibit)
(Ed works at a zoo, so he's legit in his reasoning and experience)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sorry Hypostatic,
I didnt read those sources, but the ones i were mostly about general phelsuma, not specifically the giants. I should have done more research on the giants in particular. I'm sure that the phelsuma's (lined or other) will not be small enough for the mantella's to eat, as i will remove the eggs, or, if they are egg-gluers, remove the hatchlings as soon as I can see them.

Yes, i also read through Ed's whole thread, every post, and know of the qualifications he has. What I meant when talking to Goof was that he gave information on mixing different reptiles and amphibians, further than the normal 2 species of dart frog debate.

Thanks for the wake-up call though haha

-Jeremy
 

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Biotope tanks are so awesome:) Which Vanilla sp. are you planning on using? Im just curious because I've never seen any other than Vanilla planifolia for sale. Really cool genus however.

And another question thats been on my mind for some time, how is it that you guys (Americans) always insists on using plexi/acrylic in your tanks? Because it seems to me that glass has all the advantages, it will hold forever, it doesn't scratch as easy., it won't warp over time and it's alot cheaper.
Or am I missing something obvious here?:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The biggest reason for using acrylic....We're stubborn Americans haha. It can be cut, drilled, and shaped much easier than glass, and many people want to truly do it themselves, rather than go to a glass shop and pay for the cutting.

I am personally using it because the rim is plastic, and therefore will attach better than glass will, the ease of use (as mentioned above), and I had some extra lying around. I know, I'm cheap :)

Im not really sure on the vanilla. I havent researched a whole lot about them yet, and will probably go with the most common, Vanilla Planifolia as you say. I'm assuming that is the one used on vanilla farms to harvest the beans. Unless there is a specific species that stays relatively smaller, I will have to be trimming fairly often so the only factors are look and cost. The commonly available one you mentioned is cheaper and much easier to aquire than the other species, which to me, almost all look the same haha.

-Jeremy
 

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You should use the piece of glass you have taken from the top. Im cheep and thats what id do, also it should be caulked inside the black rim.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You should use the piece of glass you have taken from the top. Im cheep and thats what id do, also it should be caulked inside the black rim.
If i do that, then it will be 12" high instead of the 6" i would like and i dont really want to go get it cut when i have the acrylic already done. Also, i would still need to have a peice of glass for the door. I think for this one, I'm going to experiment with the Weld On and the acrylic on plastic bonding.

Thanks for the suggestion, i will probably do that with my next vivs..

-Jeremy
 

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The floor space provided by a 20g long convert is not ideal for terrestrial frogs, and I know this may not be what you're looking for or want to hear, but you won't find much love or support for mixed species vivs here. Just trying to prepare you.
 

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I don't have as much of an issue mixing Malagasy geckos and mantellas as much as I do the floor space in that cage for the frogs.

Plus, two viridis or expectata won't be very bold. Expectata in particularly are very shy until you keep them in a large group so they can call. So, you might as well just keep geckos in there.
 

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a giant day gecko is way to big for a 20 vert. most recommend a 48x36 inch display for one. the giants get up to around 12 inches long. something small like a peacock or lined or gold dust day gecko would be a better fit in that size tank but you could still definately run into space issues with a pair. the males can be very aggressive. i would avoid the vanilla as it gets way to big and should do so very soon. there are lots of good angraecoid orchids that are native to madigascar. i have a mixed day gecko/frog viv. i wouldnt mix in that small of a tank. just my 2 cents keep reading and good luck with the build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
THanks for the responses everyone.

@skanderson

Yea, i dont think imma go with the vanilla because of the size. If will probably overgrow the tank even if i trim it often. I was thinking about the orchids and need to look at some online plant stores, but they might be too expensive for my taste. I'm not super cheap, just didnt know if they would be really expensive. Buying six or so might add up quickly.

I have pretty much done away with the idea of the giant day geckos..unless i only get one and no other species. Is your mixed cage frogs and Giant day geckos? or a smaller species of phelsuma? Just wondering about the comments on preying on the mantellas in the previous posts.

@Golden State Mantellas

Yes, i know that most of the board is against mixing and i've read multiple threads on the reasons. I'm all about providing the best for the animals, but if they wont be stressed by each other, have enough room for themselves, and enough to eat, I dont see why they cant be mixed. But lets not turn this into a mixing argument thread.

For the mantellas on the bottom, it will have a slate type style all around the bottom. Up to about 8" off the substrate, there will be a bunch of overhangs, providing a plethora of places to hide, and also almost doubling the floor space.

@Rain Frog

Even if the frogs were pretty shy, its fun to try to discover their hiding spots. The display is for me, not for others to see the animals in 5 seconds haha :)

As i said above, the floor space will be at least doubled, maybe more, for the frogs, so im not that worried about the lack of floor space. They should have sufficient room and plenty of hides to feel secure.

I'm obviously not going to have room for a large group of expectatas, so do you think the viridis will work better if i decide to go with the frogs?

THanks for the support (kinda) haha :p

-Jeremy
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I just returned from my week-long Alaskan cruise, which was awesome.

I got the false bottom done which has an opening flap to access the filter easier.



I also installed a piece of plastic along the back left side for the cord to run through. A little bit of gorilla glue is holding it in place for now, but it will be attached by the GS once I start the background.


I'm ordering the acrylic hinges from Josh's Frogs pretty soon and will probably get a few more supplies for the viv.

-Jeremy
 

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as i will remove the eggs, or, if they are egg-gluers, remove the hatchlings as soon as I can see them.

-Jeremy
Babies are surprisingly hard to catch, especially in larger tanks, It's a lot easier if you tape a deli cup over the eggs, that way when they hatch, they go into the Deli cup and you just have to slide the lid on...
 

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i have 1 gold dust day gecko in my viv. i would not put a giant in with any mantellas but i couldnt say that they will eat them for sure. i was going to mix in a 20 vert i would go with a very small day gecko, not a pair, and a smaller frog. i have heard that mantellas do better in groups but i doubt there is room for that in a 20 vert. also you will be removing alot of cyperus growth often from that small of a viv. i have found them to be really fast growers when they like the conditions.
 

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Even if the frogs were pretty shy, its fun to try to discover their hiding spots. The display is for me, not for others to see the animals in 5 seconds haha

As i said above, the floor space will be at least doubled, maybe more, for the frogs, so im not that worried about the lack of floor space. They should have sufficient room and plenty of hides to feel secure.

I'm obviously not going to have room for a large group of expectatas, so do you think the viridis will work better if i decide to go with the frogs?
If you enjoy never seeing the mantellas, period, go for it, unless you enjoy lifting up leaves / hiding spots every day just to check to make sure they're still alive. You will quickly become uninterested, but that's the way mantellas are.
 

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+1 on the vanilla comment.

I currently have one that I am growing out for my 20g L viv - but the things do not respond well to trimming, the trimmed part will send out one shoot from a node, and all growth from then on will be from that one node.

Im going to try and make it work. Probably not the best decision.

Im interested to see where you go with this.

Im glad to see that you got rid of the acrylic silicone combo - continual water pressure on that would have eventually won IMO, and you would have been a sad camper.
 

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What ever ended up happening? I am also considering doing this, but with mantellas and Neon or Yellow-Headed day geckos. I'm planning on using a 24×18×36 Exoterra.
 
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